Water Projects In 2020: Governance Priorities In The Pandemic

Water projects in 2020, like all governance activities, have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The SKOCH State of Governance research project is an in-depth analysis of state function across different categories. We look at projects and schemes under each category as an indicator of overall state performance. This past year, the pandemic has affected…

09 May, 2021 Research Reports, Water
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Water projects in 2020, like all governance activities, have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The SKOCH State of Governance research project is an in-depth analysis of state function across different categories. We look at projects and schemes under each category as an indicator of overall state performance. This past year, the pandemic has affected governance both obviously and in subtle ways. For instance, District Administration all over the country seems to have matured rather rapidly this past year. We have explicitly observed a shift away from top-down management to beneficiary-led methods.

The changes we’ve noticed aren’t always easy to quantify. There is, of course, the measurable aspect of how many projects are studied per category per year. We can perhaps record the impact value of these projects in terms of how many participating projects eventually earn a ranking position. When we talk about governance categories growing, we are referring to these statistically-measurable developments from one year to the next. However, it’s still challenging to quantify intangibles like the reasons behind these changes. When we speak of a particular governance sector maturing, it is not only a matter of numbers but also a change in factors such as how well a scheme was received by its target beneficiaries, how scalable it might be, and the difference it made in people’s lives. The Municipalities segment is another that has evolved this past year.

The Changing Face Of Governance In 2020

The changes mentioned above can be studied in the table below. It shows how each category has performed and changed over the last five years. For example, the Police & Safety segment has also grown this past year.

Shifting Governance Priorities: State Governments From 2015-2020
  2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2015-2020
Projects Ranked Per Year (%)
Agriculture 1.72 0.00 1.24 1.97 3.04 7.02 1.91
Disaster Management 0.00 1.10 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.22
District Administration 40.34 9.16 12.37 8.55 0.00 0.00 17.37
Ease of Doing Business 0.74 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.22
Education 1.35 3.48 3.51 6.91 6.42 9.21 4.04
eGovernance 5.90 13.19 16.91 26.32 29.73 40.79 17.33
Finance & Revenue 0.12 0.92 1.24 2.63 4.05 10.09 2.06
Food & Civil Supplies 0.00 1.28 1.44 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.52
Governance (General Administration) 2.83 7.88 2.06 8.88 9.80 9.21 5.73
Health (Non-COVID) 4.31 11.72 4.74 6.25 6.76 5.26 6.47
Infrastructure 0.12 0.55 0.21 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.19
Irrigation 0.00 0.37 2.68 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.56
Labour 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.32 0.00 0.00 0.15
Municipal Governance 11.32 19.05 18.76 28.29 30.41 15.79 18.68
Municipal Sanitation 3.81 4.40 12.58 0.00 0.00 0.00 4.34
Police & Safety 12.92 9.34 1.44 0.00 3.04 0.00 6.44
Power & Energy 2.21 3.30 2.47 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.80
Rural Development 1.23 1.83 3.09 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.31
Skill Development 2.46 2.75 1.24 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.53
Social Justice & Social Security 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.97 0.00 0.00 0.22
Tourism & Culture 0.00 0.37 0.41 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.15
Transport 3.32 3.30 4.54 4.61 6.76 2.63 4.00
Urban Development 0.86 3.66 6.60 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.21
Water 3.08 0.92 0.82 0.00 0.00 0.00 1.27
Women & Child Development 1.35 1.47 1.65 2.30 0.00 0.00 1.27
Total number of projects studied 813 546 485 304 296 228 2672
Response to covid % 24.97%            

As can be seen from this table, the Water landscape has been blossoming these last few years. From markedly zero participation in the ranking projects for 3 years between 2015 and 2017 to steady growth between 2018 and 2020, we’re seeing a definite shift in administrative priorities. In brief: for 2019 only 0.92% of the total number of projects analysed came from the water niche. Comparatively, 2020 has been a more robust year with 3.08% of the total projects studied falling within the Water category. To sum up, performance in the sector has grown 3.34 times in just one year and projections for coming years promise bigger gains.

Covid-19 And Its Impact On Water Projects

The Capital Prioritises Staff Welfare

Delhi Jal Board ran a project dedicated to Staff Welfare Cell for COVID019 Positive Officers/Officials of Delhi Government. The Covid-19 cell helped members of GNCTD and Autonomous Bodies as well as Corporations & Local Bodies, etc. The project has assisted over 1,000 people since its inception. As part of its services, it provides beneficiaries with essential goods and services and also connects different concerned officers and departments with the patients. Moreover, the cell extends counselling support to officials affected by the virus and their families.

WII Protects The Ganges Basin

The Wildlife Institute of India is committed to making and keeping the Ganga clean. To this end, the WII-NMCG Planning and Management for Aquatic Species Conservation and Maintenance of Ecosystem Services in the Ganga Basin scheme is using a scientifically-driven restoration approach. The idea is to use cutting-edge technology and involve multiple stakeholders in order to be able to achieve the greatest ecological impact possible.

SKOCH recognises the work done by project stakeholders in respone to Covid-19. During the pandemic, the Ganga Prahari Mentors raised Rs.1,03,000/- for a Covid-relief fund. Above all, one of the main goals of the project at the time was to raise awareness about the pandemic and inspire a sense of responsibility amongst the people. For this aim, authorities organised numerous activities such as sensitisation drives for locals and interactions to educate children about the pandemic. At the same time, the project helped meet sanitisation needs by producing sanitiser for distribution, handing out face masks and disinfecting community spaces like lanes.

State Rankings On The Basis Of Water Projects

The following table details how different states have ranked on the basis of their performance in the water category. This ranking is not the same as our overall state rank in the State of Governance research. However, each state’s sectoral rankings go a long way towards deciding its overall performance rank. Several of the states listed below for impactful water projects in 2020 have also featured in our Top 10 list for 2020.

Rank In Water Segment Name Of The State
1 Gujarat
2 Punjab
3 Tamil Nadu
4 Odisha
5 Kerala
6 Bihar
7 Andhra Pradesh
7 Delhi
7 West Bengal

Even though West Bengal features towards the bottom of this list of top-performing states in the Water category, it does not mean a low score In fact, West Bengal ranks #3 in the 2020 State of Governance list. Gujarat is one of the star performers this past year, ranking #1 within the Water segment and coming in at #2 overall. Bagging the overall top spot is Andhra Pradesh, also featured here at #7.

Impactful Water Projects In 2020

Odisha Aims For Conservation Water Projects In 2020

Odisha makes waves at the #4 spot in the Water category. The Zero Energy Consumed Gravity Field Spring Based Irrigation System is a particularly important project in the space of innovation in water conservation. The new irrigation system is helping tribal communities who are otherwise forced to migrate whenever the rain-fed land becomes barren post-monsoons. The Directorate Of Soil Conservation And Watershed Development, Koraput, launched the project chiefly to conserve water, reduce soil erosion, optimise natural resources but with the added benefit of promoting socioeconomic growth in the region through principles of sustainable development. As a result of the project, authorities have established an energy-efficient storage & conservation system that allows for continued irrigation. Thus, yields and incomes in the region have improved with off-season and high-value cash crops.

Punjab Pushes For Greater Hygiene

The Water Supply & Sanitation Department, District Administartion Moga, has done noteworthy work under the Swachh Bharat umbrella. For this reason, the government awarded Moga the ODF status in 2017. Due to the Moga administration’s efforts, nearly 8,000 toilets have been built under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

In view of how important hygiene standards are to public health and safety, a two-pronged approach is used for promoting better practices. Firstly, residents are encouraged to make greater use existing toilet facilities. Secondly, project authorities identify homes/individuals that need help constructing toilets and categorise them on the basis of different administrative aid policies available. For the purpose of balanced growth, the administration encourages households that are not eligible for assistance under these schemes to take the initiative and begin construction on their own. Consequently, awareness-building is a big part of bringing about social change. In order to do so, project members conduct door-to-door campaigns to facilitate better communication and improved motivation.

Tamil Nadu Deals With Water Shortage

The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board introduced the Dial For Water 2.0 programme in response to water scarcity. This Water project is classified as a strong contender in the Digital India and e-Governance niches. Chennai faced a severe water crisis in 2019. But instead of buckling under pressure, CMWSSB identified several alternatives sources of water to keep supply up in the region. In view of the mounting problem, authorities used the railways and tankers to move water into the city and service every part of it. The Dial For Water system thus enabled citizens to reach out for a water tanker delivery service. With 3900 requests coming in daily, the system soon began to be overwhelmed with delays.

In order to tackle this problem, the authorities decided to cap the daily supply services to 4,000 so that an honest commitment could be made and fulfilled. Moreover, an integrated registration Call Centre also allows residents to make bookings and follow up on requests. The authorities also introduced an updated dynamic grievance redressal portal to encourage better connectivity between citizens and authorities. Under those circumstances, the honesty and accountability shown by the TN government went a long way towards building mutual trust and cooperation with the people.

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